A conference in Florida during the month of February may sound like a fantastic getaway to most people. Don’t get me wrong, knowing that just outside the walls of the conference rooms sat sand and palm trees instead of snow and ice was wonderful- but after seeing the agenda for the 2014 Gravens Conference- I knew that sand and sun would not be in my future! At this annual conference for neonatologists, nurses, therapists and March of Dimes staff we learned about everything from fetal mouth movements in feedings, to scientific foundations for compassionate care, and spirituality in the NICU, to the newest plans that March of Dimes has for the NICU Family Support Program. With all of the information presented I had to go through my notes and redigest everything I had learned! I cannot list all of the session takeaways that I was given but here are a few:
- Things we knew antidotally about Kangaroo Care (skin to skin holding), and loving touches sounds and smells (such as mother’s scent) are now being backed up by medical evidence such as EEGs.
- I have the ability to support early relationships through helping families to be with, know, relate and give care to their babies through guided activities.
- I can help the family “write a story” that they can live with for the rest of their lives.
I came back from the Gravens Conference even more excited to help families in the NICU that I was when I left! AND my friends, family, coworkers and NICU families who were all jealous of my trip to Florida were happy to hear that it was cloudy, windy and rainy the entire time!
Cassie Skalicky, NICU Family Support Specialist